Covid Cash - How much did your school receive?
Illinois has handed out $7 billion in funds to schools across the state. ESSER funds (Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief funds) were part of the stimulus packages states received to distribute to schools. Here is ISBE's brief overview of ESSER funds. Through a FOIA request, we obtained a breakdown of how much each school received for all 3 rounds of funding, and allowing for use up through September of 2023, over 2 more years from now. Are we planning to keep all of these policies in place for another 2 years?
Seeing how much money has been allocated to various schools, some of them are extremely sizeable. It begs the question to be asked of how much misappropriation and fraud will occur. And in the state of Illinois, you can guarantee it will happen. (report Fraud, Waste, & Abuse here). So we pose the following questions to be asked of those in charge of the ESSER funds:
Will it be used only for covid related services and products as intended?
Will schools be able to provide a detailed list on how the money was spent?
Can it be used for hiring new staff?
Can it be used for paying existing staff?
Can it be used to give salary raises to administration for their hard work last year?
Read page 5. "additional compensation to teachers & staff who assume new duties"
Will the state conduct an audit to make sure these funds were spent appropriately?
Will funds be returned if not used by the deadline?
Are schools concerned about loss of these funds if they defy executive orders?
Was their a condition upon receiving these funds that they must obey CDC guidance?
A few of these questions were raised in a video from a parent at the Vandalia school board meeting. After having multiple citizens send us this video, asking if the funding issues were true, it was decided it was time to release the funding amounts in the above file. The conditions to continue to receive those funds are unknown, but there are several good points made in the video below: